Artist David Gordon aims to show viewers "Where Peace Lies" with his latest show, but the answer is simple: Pine Mountain Club. The small mountain town's Artworks Community Gallery is featuring the artist's work.
Much like Penny Lane in "Almost Famous," who would go to the record store to visit her "friends," Gordon headed to his painting room during the shutdown and revisited photos he shot of his favorite getaways.
"What is so important is to lean on them when I can't go to them," he said. "I have a folder of images of places that I like. Stuck in the house during COVID and with other pressures ... to be able to go into my painting room, paint Bishop, pine trees, a river — to go back and paint Oregon and concentrate on that place helped a lot."
The artist said he focused on painting — working every day during the shutdown — to avoid falling back into bad habits.
He said, "Approaching nine years of sobriety from alcohol, those places are important to me ... It was very important to have those places and be so productive with those places and intimate with those places. To communicate how I feel about them to others, it's almost like going to an AA meeting."
The collection of 21 paintings depicts a variety of nature scenes including Bishop, the Tule River, the west side of Sequoia National Forest and Oregon.
Although most of the show is newer work, the exhibit has been in the works for a couple of years. Gordon met Artworks co-founder Mike Cram during his outreach when he was executive director of the Arts Council of Kern.
"I was going to different communities and giving talks about how the Arts Council could help those artists in the community. ... We would write grants, we had resources, we could help fund projects.
"At one of the meetings I had at Frazier Park Library, that's how I met Mike. He followed my artwork and asked, 'Would you like to have a show?'"
Plans were delayed by a career change — Gordon left the Arts Council to become managing partner of Bird Dog Arts at the Outlets at Tejon — as well as the pandemic.
The show is on display now, with an artist's reception scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Gordon doesn't expect a big crowd but he encourages people to visit the southwestern Kern community when they can.
"I had a lot of pride going up there seeing this area of our county I hadn't been to in a few years," he said of dropping off his work to the gallery last week.
"It's only an hour away, it's so beautiful up there. People don't know that in our backyard there is this place like this."